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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by…

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Flavia de Luce (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,101519877 (3.86)1 / 811
  1. 143
    Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (lorin77)
  2. 111
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (foggidawn)
  3. 112
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
  4. 81
    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (chinquapin)
  5. 158
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (nysmith)
  6. 94
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (lauranav)
    lauranav: Both show relationships and point of view of a young girl.
  7. 50
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though Sweetness is more of a traditional mystery, it shares with Where'd You Go, Bernadette an endearing, precocious, and entertaining young narrator who pieces together clues from the adult world to solve a mystery. Character interactions are delightfully, humorously depicted.… (more)
  8. 73
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (inbedwithbooks)
    inbedwithbooks: Deze twee boeken vertonen veel gelijkenis, door de hoofdpersonages, nl.jonge rijke betweterige meisjes.
  9. 51
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (citygirl)
    citygirl: Castle is much darker and Flavia is more adorable than creepy (Merricat is quite creepy), but if you're interested in unusual young protagonists, with a very particular world view, try these.
  10. 51
    The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen (raizel)
    raizel: Both stories about brilliant and quirky children were recommended at the same time by my daughter. T.S. Spivet is the more real character and the book is beautifully written. Yes, T.S. Spivet is a boy, but I'm not sexist enough to let that bother me.
  11. 30
    The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Flavia de Luce has a similar voice as Enola and both are young, precocious and underestimated detectives.
  12. 20
    Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes (y2pk)
    y2pk: Pre-teen girl investigating adult crimes, while putting up with her sometimes-strange family and home life. Emma Graham also appears in two other books, Cold Flat Junction and Belle Ruin. They should be read in order.
  13. 10
    The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (47degreesnorth)
  14. 33
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (dara85)
  15. 00
    A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor (starfishian)

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English (515)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (527)
Showing 1-5 of 515 (next | show all)
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that this book was available at my library translated to Swedish. I really don't have time for library books, but sometimes I have to make an exception.

Flavia de Luce is a wonderful 11-year old girl with a passion for chemistry (nothing we really share, but I love that she loves it) and in this book she has to clear her father from a murder charge. But what have stamps to do with the murder?

I admit I had some trouble getting into the story, but I think it was because I only read a little of the book every day, I much prefer to just devour a book and not just take a chapter or two every day. So yesterday I just thought "what the heck let's finish this off" and then everything with the book felt a lot better.

This is a great book; I recommended this book to anyone that likes a good mystery book.

When I think about; Flavia could actually be the child of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell (See Laurie R. King). She loves chemistry and is an amateur detective...

Also, I love the names of the sisters, Flavia, Daphne and Ophelia. It's just splendid! ( )
  DariaZav | Feb 9, 2016 |
I've discovered a fantastic new mystery series, thanks to my husband's recommendation. Alan Bradley has created a true treasure in Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old girl with a penchant for chemistry and an interest in investigating. She is the youngest daughter in the Buckshaw family, and lives in their rambling and disintegrating family manor with her father and older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne. The story opens with Flavia plotting revenge against her sisters for locking her in a closet. This alone does not prompt her intense ire, which arises from their constant teasing and torment. Flavia believes that her sisters blame her for the disappearance and presumed death of their mother, Harriet. It happened when Flavia was only a baby, and has left an indelible mark on the family, especially on their father, who has retreated into his world of stamps and left the house and its finance to stagger along. Despite the sadness of this loss, their family goes on in much the normal way, in part because a lot of time has passed since the catastrophe, and in part because they are a family that is not comfortable expressing their deep emotions. (While Flavia's sisters are mean, it seems no more than the rivalry found among most siblings.) The family home is rounded out with Mrs. Mullet, their occasional cook and housekeeper, and Dogger, a man who performs odd jobs around the house. Arthur Dogger served with Flavia's father in the war, and had even saved his life. Dogger suffers from sever post traumatic shock, and Flavia's father took him in. Dogger's attacks are never dangerous, and in his lucid moments he is an intelligent and reliable man. Dogger and Flavia have an understanding between them, a relationship that falls somewhere between parental and partnership.

This premise is intriguing enough for a novel - unusual family with dark secrets, a quaint British town, a plucky girl that is enchanted with chemistry. And then a murder happens! Honestly, I am only gleeful about that type of incident in the confines of a mystery story. The victim is discovered in the de Luce garden, and it is soon unveiled that the man was a school friend of Flavia's father. Flavia discovered Horace Bonepenny in her cucumber patch, and was the only one present to hear his whispered last word, "Vale". Riding around on her trusty bike, Gladys, Flavia starts detecting. She is a brilliant girl, and knows when to play the innocent child, who to ply for town gossip, and where suspicious strangers are most likely to be found in Bishop's Lacey. She knows how to break into the media archives in the back of the old library (stored in an old mechanics shop converted to the purpose0, and she has friends who work at the local inn. Inspector Hewitt suspects Flavia knows more than she is telling, and he warns her to keep out of it, but she just tries to be all the more discreet. When the police arrest her father for the murder, nothing will stop Flavia from finding the truth and clearing her father's name.

What a delightful new mystery series this is, with a child detective that has none of the cloying and overly innocent personality of earlier generations of young sleuths (such as Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden, who I also love, while recognizing their limitations as characters) but is an intelligent force to be reckoned with. Bradley manages to portray her as a child - she is still quite naive in some areas, particularly when it comes to physical attraction and romance - but a precocious one who has the knowledge and spirit requisite to solving crimes. With her extensive knowledge of chemistry and poisons, her tendency to revenge herself on others in devious and frightening ways, and her complicated relationship with her family, Flavia is a fascinating character. I could read scores of books about this delightfully terrifying girl. The mystery is also entertaining, a bit like a cozy mystery with its manor house backdrop and the accumulation of suspects and clues by an amateur investigator. It delves into her father's past, helping to round out the reserved and taciturn man who is obsessed with his stamps, and makes him much more likable. Dogger is an absolute delight, another character who is original, flawed, and intriguing. His relationship with Flavia is endearing, and he comes off as quite the hero. I look forward to learning more about all of these characters, even the romantic Ophelia and bookish Daphne, in future Bradley mysteries to come. ( )
  nmhale | Feb 8, 2016 |
What fun! A good, fun mystery with some laugh-out-loud moments and an utterly delightful geeky protagonist. I'll definitely read more in this series! ( )
  Gwendydd | Feb 7, 2016 |
Last Book for 2015

I actually found that I liked the second book much better than this one, so if you were slightly put off SWEETNESS, do go to the library and check out #2. ( )
  PamFamilyLibrary | Feb 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 515 (next | show all)
It's a rare pleasure to follow Flavia as she investigates her limited but boundless-feeling world. And it's nice to know she'll be back.
Impressive as a sleuth and enchanting as a mad scientist (“What a jolly poison could be extracted from the jonquil”), Flavia is most endearing as a little girl who has learned how to amuse herself in a big lonely house.

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradley, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonardo, CatherineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie, who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?

--William King, The Art of Cookery (1708)
For Shirley
First words
It was as black in the closet as old blood.
That means King George the Sixth, and King George the Sixth is not a frivolous man. (chapter four)
It is not unknown for fathers with a brace of daughters to reel off their names in order of birth when summoning the youngest, and I had long ago become accustomed to being called "Ophelia Daphne Flavia, damn it." (chapter 16)
It occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. No... eight days a week. (chapter 5)
My particular passion was poison. (chapter 1)
'I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion'

It's from his Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae. Perhaps you know of it? I shook my head. It's very beautiful, I said.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Book description
I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.

In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction — eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950 — and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.

An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told take of deceptions — and a rich literary delight.


For very-nearly-eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, the discovery of a dead snipe on the doorstep of Buckshaw, the crumbling de Luce country seat, was a marvellous mystery — especially since this particular snipe had a rather rare stamp neatly impaled on its beak. Even more astonishing was the effect of the dead bird on her stamp-collector father, who appeared to be genuinely frightened. Soon Flavia discovers something even more shocking in the cucumber patch and it's clear that the snipe was a bird of very ill omen indeed.

As the police descend on Buckshaw, Flavia decides it is up to her to piece together the clues and solve the puzzle. Who was the man she heard her father arguing with? What was the snipe doing in England at all? Who or what is the Ulster Avenger? And, most peculiar of all, who took a slice of Mrs Mullet's unspeakable custard pie that had been cooling by the window...?

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It is the summer of 1950, and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events. For Flavia, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.… (more)

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